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Can we discuss monogamy without a bunfight?

(94 Posts)
LeaningTowerOfPizza Sun 19-Jul-15 21:32:38

I've namechanged because I'm not optimistic there won't be a bunfight!

Anyway: I read a thread here recently in which the OP divulged having feelings for someone outside their marriage and it got me thinking about my own marriage, values, upbringing and societal norms.

I've been happily married to my best friend for more than a decade. Neither of us has ever strayed or felt the need to but we've recently decided to open the marriage based on sexual desires. I'm wary of posting exactly what because I don't want a barrage of posts claiming I'm on my school holidays but I consider what we want to be perfectly normal. We're both happy with our choices and we both KNOW what the other would be doing [nothing has happened yet] which I feel is the main problem with societal attitudes towards sex outside marriage - deceit - though I'd like other views on this.

Some people will say sex is a need and some say it's a want, each to their own. Some others say you should be able to meet all sexual needs/wants/desires with your significant other, otherwise you're basically an unloving, uncaring hornbag who hasn't the will nor the desire to really make their marriage work. I think that's really unfair. I also think it's what leads some [some, not all!!] people to believe they have fallen for someone else when it's quite possible they are just lusting after something different. For instance, I'm bisexual. Dh is never going to meet that desire for me. I could happily go the rest of my life without being with a woman again but, given the chance, sure, I'd go for it. It doesn't mean I love Dh less or want to run away or that anything is wrong in my marriage.

I chose him, he chooses me but we're both happy to choose different if the opportunity presents itself.

I don't think we're fooling ourselves but I'll put myself out there for your opinions - do you think we are? Do you think it's possible to separate sex and love or - being emotional creatures, do you think it's playing with fire?

owlborn Sun 19-Jul-15 21:41:14

I think it's perfectly doable and I know loads of people, with and without DC, who it works for perfectly.

I also think your won't get a lot of positive feedback here which definitely has a pretty hardline response to the subject and I'd suggest googling polyamory and hunting down some forums where you'll meet people who have been there and made it work.

Good luck!

FarFromAnyRoad Sun 19-Jul-15 21:45:49

I think it's doable too - and I also think that if more women were open to this sort of thing there'd be far less divorce. We're always reading about women (and men!) who completely go off sex for some time, maybe all time, after a baby or whatever. Why not just let the man go get what he needs elsewhere without deceit and knowing he'll always come home to you? It's the French way isn't it? I see nothing wrong with it if you can organise it like adults and both understand the rules. I realise that not many will agree grin but it is surely worth consideration?

DoItTooJulia Sun 19-Jul-15 21:51:25

I think it's theoretically brilliant. Mature, honest, simple. I think the reality is probably different. Sex, intimacy, kissing even is emotional. And it's what complicates it all.

Hats off to you if you can do it and live a happy and uncomplicated life with your dh!

ALaughAMinute Sun 19-Jul-15 21:53:15

Another one who thinks it's doable!

If it works for both of you, then why not?

This thread is going well so far isn't it? smile

countryandchickens Sun 19-Jul-15 21:56:12

Absolutely doable.

I know my husband isn't faithful. I'm fine with that and I'd rather that was honest between the two of us than him sneak around.

It's the dishonesty that hurts not the sex.

LeaningTowerOfPizza Sun 19-Jul-15 21:56:56

I'm sure there'll be opposing views. It's actually what I'm looking for smile

I just won't entertain a cat fight. Bit long in the tooth for that grin

I think the thing with me is mutual consent. If both don't agree then bigger decisions need to be made. Just letting a partner away to get their rocks off because something is missing or because one person is less enthusiastic in the bedroom for whatever reason is a recipe for disaster.

At the end of the day, that's not about love, respect understanding - it would feel like bullying to me.

strawberryshoes Sun 19-Jul-15 21:57:43

Only you know if you can do it.

I know I couldn't. I am an adult, a reasonable one at that, but the thought of my husband having no strings unemotional sex outside the marriage is not something I could cope with. Here is the thing though, that's me personally - you arn't me so why not go with it if you think it will work.

I imagine the key is communication and being sure you are both still happy with the arrangement throughout.

Viviennemary Sun 19-Jul-15 21:59:34

I think it will all end in tears. I think polygamy is a better idea than affairs.

LeaningTowerOfPizza Sun 19-Jul-15 21:59:50

Mature opinions - definitely glad I didn't go down the AIBU route.

It's early yet though!

rosesanddaisies Sun 19-Jul-15 22:01:41

I couldn't see myself ever doing that, nor being happy with my DH doing it, but that's just me - if two consenting adults in a relationship are happy to be poly, though I might not be able to understand it I would certainly say "go for it" if it works for you and isn't hurting anyone else involved. life is not so black and white. Happiness and contentment and fulfilment come in many different forms.

MarchLikeAnAnt Sun 19-Jul-15 22:03:06

If you are both happy with it then I don't see why it shouldn't work. Have fun op!

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 19-Jul-15 22:03:35

I know some people who are poly and it works for them. The key seems to be respect and honesty communication. I absolutely believe that you canhave sex without love, I've done it many times myself.grin

As for "playing with fire", only you and your DH can decide that OP. I recommend having an honest conversation about what is / is not acceptable before you begin and keep discussing what's going on and how each of you feel about it. BTW, it is OK to have a go and then decide that it's not for you.

Starspread Sun 19-Jul-15 22:03:43

For what it's worth, I've been polyamorous for about seven years, and that's mostly taken the form of both my DH and I having other long-term loving relationships. For me, it's not that I can't separate sex and love (I've had some really great shorter-term connections!), but that I don't want to; I like knowing that connections I make have the potential to grow into something more significant. But it's absolutely definitely possible; I have friends in long-running and solid non-monogamous relationships who only ever seek out new people for sexual connections.

DH is more likely than I am to have shorter-term connections, I just like to know I could if wanted (though I mostly can't be bothered), but right now I'm pregnant so neither of us really have the headspace for any new people and we're pretty much totally focused on each other for the foreseeable.

Anyway, whatever it is it's all openly discussed ('oh hey, I have a date with so and so on Thursday' 'oh great, say hi from me, I haven't seen her since that gig the other week'). There are as many different ways of doing non-monogamous relationships as there are people doing them (much the same as monogamous relationships, actually!) and this is how it works for us.

I wish you good luck and good fun in figuring out what shape of relationship works for you; just keep talking, about everything, especially the things where you have that fleeting thought of 'maybe it would be easier if I just don't mention this?' - that thought is your memo that you should definitely mention it smile

PontyGirl Sun 19-Jul-15 22:04:48

I think monogamy is a hard slog generally speaking. But I couldn't have an open marriage - I know myself too well and I would be emotional and jealous.

However - if you can do it, and it's something you both genuinely want, then you should pursue it and try it out.

InTheBox Sun 19-Jul-15 22:05:31

It's doable I agree. As long as everyone is open, honest and indeed transparent about what's going on then it could in one way or another bring a couple even closer.

I agree that often it's not about the sex but all the lies and deceit surrounding it that leads to divorce. Having said that, this is the kind of set up I could imagine for a couple that have been married for many many many years, it doesn't strike me as the kind of thing newly weds would do.

Sidge Sun 19-Jul-15 22:05:43

A very good friend of mine is polyamorous and her and her husband have an open marriage. It works for them, they are both very happy.

For me? I could never be in that sort of relationship. I am strongly monogamous and couldn't entertain the thought of my partner having other sexual partners. It would make me very unhappy. But that's not to say my way is the right way; it's just the right way for me.

LeaningTowerOfPizza Sun 19-Jul-15 22:07:42

Good point Julia. makes me wonder if we can ever be sure of no strings when we're such emotional beings. It could start out that way but ....

I also wonder if, in the newness of sex outside the marriage, we can wear rose-tinted glasses and only see the good in the new person and that, that fun, no mortgage or bills talk, laughing, happy-go-lucky, trying to impress sex all brings about false emotion?

LeaningTowerOfPizza Sun 19-Jul-15 22:08:30

A grass is greener type thing?

PontyGirl Sun 19-Jul-15 22:09:17

starspread I'm so genuinely interested in your experience! Do you ever get jealous or are you quite laid back? I have to admit I can see why people do it, and I can see the fun and pleasure in it, but as I said before, I know I would just be a drama llama about it all.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 19-Jul-15 22:09:50

Plenty of people make it work - and for those who struggle with it, the problem is quite often not sexual jealousy, but the interference from dimwits who refuse to accept that monogamy is a social construct and,really, just another fetish - it works for some people and not for others. It's actualy people who are obsessed with monogamy who are more likely to do their partners harm than those who don't consider other people to be property. Monogamy obsessives condone abuse (up to the point of murder) when monogamy is breached; they spy on partners and are ludicrously hostile to people they have decided are a threat to a monogamous relationship (whether their own or someone else's).

NoMontagues Sun 19-Jul-15 22:13:13

What's all this business about bunfights and cat fights? If both you and your partner are in agreement then I don't see how this is a provocative issue. It's not as if you're planning on having and affair without his knowledge.

For me, I would rather end my relationship than move to an open relationship. I just think it would be cleaner, easier and fairer all round.

Penfold007 Sun 19-Jul-15 22:14:09

OP I admire your honesty and clarity. I'm happy to own this, for me straight, gay or bi a relationship is monogamous. Being in a relationship means an exclusive relationship. If you and your P are happy then good for you.

countryandchickens Sun 19-Jul-15 22:14:39

You can want to be in a relationship with someone without wanting to have sex with only them, for a whole myriad of reasons, I think.

I personally don't but understand why others do.

InTheBox Sun 19-Jul-15 22:21:09

countryandchickens I'm not sure I follow... From your initial post you said it's doable and made the point r.e. your husband but just above are you saying you personally wouldn't want an open relationship but can see why others do?

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